Very interesting link. Thanks.
Very interesting info. Thanks for sharing.
actually, at the time of Thompson's ascent in 1837, there were ascents regularly being made by iranians, to gather sulphur from the summit for commercial purposes; Thompson himself mentions this in his article in the Royal Geographic society magazine of 1838. This commercial activity was mentionned in Nasser-i Khosrow's medieval book of travels, and is attested in the 19th century by a european scholar whose name escapes me right now; i'd be happy to give more precise references. My email is email@example.com
How to Reach the Summit
By: Reza Chahkanouii
Translation: Massoud Mohsenin
From: Kouh Magazine - Spring & Summer 1996
Alborz Mountain range with more than 2000 Km. lenght lies from North-West to North-East of Iran.
This vast mountain range comprises main peaks of 4000m. height. The only peak higher than 5000m. is Damavand with 5671m. altitude at the farthest end of the central eastern part of Alborz. It's 70Km. on a straight line from Tehran.
Mount Damavand is the result of volcanic activities at the beginning of the quaternary geologic time (Pleistcence stage). The same accured for Arrarat in Turkey and Sahand, Sabalan and Alvand in Iran.
Damavand like many volcanic mountains bears a conic shape very similar to Fujiyama in Japan.
Damavand is actually a non-active volcano but wipes brim-stone. It means that it is going through the last stage before complete silence. However, its warm mineral springs, absence of extensive glaciers and frequent earthquakes at every few years intervals are the evidences of internal activities of this mountain. However, its isolation, high altitude and conic shape visible from far distances, have made it outstanding amongst other high mountains in the region.
Damavand region is one of the most beautiful natural surroundings with fields full of wild poppy and purple lily in spring and long grass plots in green summer. It is also a rainfull area having very hard winters, but moderate summers. The summit and slopes are always covered by snow.
In the history of Iran, Damavand has always been a symbol and its name is synonymous with Iran.
A good number of tales and epics have been written about it, reflecting the deep place it holds in the culture and beliefs of Iranian people.
Due to its conical shape, climbing is possible from all sides, but well-known paths are nine. The most frequented are North, North-East, South and West faces. The easiest trajectory is the southern path. On all faces, shelters are provided.
If the starting point is Tehran, you should count on an average of 3 days for the climb. From Tehran, you take Haraz Road. After 120 Km. via Polour village, you reach Reineh village. This is the nearest village to the southern path. There, you can find a well-equipped old shelter.
In the past, climbing started from this village, but nowadays, by taking a dirt road (often used by mine machinery) you can reach a spot called Goosfand- Sara with an altitude of 3200m. from sea level. At this point, you can follow a path with a moderate slope which gets gradually steeper. After 3 to 4 hours climbing, you reach the southern shelter at 4150m. altitude. This shelter with a capacity of 30 persons is a favorable place for a short night rest.
The beginning hours of the following day is the best time to start the final stage of the climb. The path starts from behind the shelter. the slope is relativelysteep and the high altitude and lack of Oxygen makes climbing rather difficult. At 5100m. at your right, you can see a huge suspending ice-piece called Abshar Yakhy (Icy Water Fall).
The most difficult part of the climb is about 300m. under the peak. This part is called Doud Kouh (Smoke Mountain) or Sulphuric Hill, steaming sulphuric gas out of the holes. Its bad smell makes breathing difficult. After passing this part, there is no more slope to climb, only a huge ditch waits ahead. This is the main Damavand volcanic mouth located on top of the summit.
If the weather is fine, you can see the green jungle of the north of Iran, the Caspian sea, the city of Tehran, the lake of Lar and at very far sight on the south the vast plain of Varamin from Damavand peak.
Climbing from shelter to the peak takes 8 to 9 hours and the return to the shelter about 3 to 4 hours.
Summit day takes about 12 hours +/-2 hours from the shelter at 13,350ft. There are no water sources once you leave the shelter for the summit. Weather can change drastically from day to day. Wind is a big factor. Because of the sulphuric plumes on top, one can only remain on the summit for 10-20 minutes before your eyes start burning.
During the summer, the terrain for most of the mountain is loose scree. The final 1,500ft will consist of snow and ice/slush.
Plastic boots are not necessary. Crampons are optional, depending on the weather. Bring heavier sleeping bag (-10F) if you want to sleep outside the shelter (quieter, more space). Tent not necessary.
Thursday and Friday are the days when it is most crowded on the mountain, especially in the shelter.
an excellent article on skiing damavand can be found at telemarktips.com
The earliest recorded ascent of Damavand was made in 905 by Abu Dolaf Kazraji, although others unknown may have preceded him. Three centuries later Yaqut, the great Byzantine/Arab geographer, attempted to climb Damavand, but failed to reach the summit. However, the local people who served him as guides gave him a detailed description of the summit which he incorporated into his famous "Dictionary of Geography", and which conforms perfectly with the geographical reality. At approximately the same time Ebn Esfandiar noted that the ascent from Ask took around two days. Apparently climbs of Damavand were not uncommon during the early 13th century, before the Mongol invasion under Hulagu Khan swept, and destroyed, everything before it.
In September, 1837 the Englishman W. Taylor Thompson became the first Western climber to summit Damavand. This climb is widely -- and erroneously -- cited as the first ascent. Thompson's claim to priority was made in good faith, as at the time the mountain was no longer being climbed, and was thought to be unclimbed. It was only through subsequent scholarship and research that the earlier ascents were verified. Still, considering the degree to which Damavand has traditionally symbolized Iran, it does seen fitting that it should have been first climbed by an Iranian.
--James H. Powell
Fellow Emeritus, The Explorers Club
Member, The American Alpine Club and
The American Oriental Society
How sure are you that the elevation you give is accurate? 5671m is the most commonly given, but I have seen lower elevations (5604m and 5610m) given. Data from NASA's 2000 Shuttle Radar Topography mission, which I have reproduced on http://www.sol.co.uk/v/viewfinder/damavand.txt, support these lower elevations.
Jonathan de Ferranti, Scotland
Further to my last post (#12), I have just found that according to the Statistical Centre of Iran (click on "A Glance at Iran" followed by "Land and Government") the elevation of 5610 metres is correct, not the inflated elevation on this page.
As said above; the altitude given on the page isn't correct. Please change it to 5610m.
Actually it's 5609m. 20years ago when I went to school the number in the books said 5671m! Assuming the Iranian school books where correct almost every kid gets the wrong idea... I have seen even higher numbers like 5700m in some European maps and books.
Does anybody has a GPS track and/or topo map available? There is a link on the page http://www.damawand.de/Info-Tech/GPS-Track.html which obviously does NOT work, or shows only the lower part of the track respectively.